Tomorrow Comfort Film welcomes Alex Vasquez and Matt Storc of Windy City Horrorama, an upcoming weekend long horror festival to be hosted for the first time on April 27-29th in the newly reopened Davis Theater for a screening of Scary Stories (2018). For a summary of this film and to RSVP, check it out our Facebook event.
I was able to talk to Matt Storc, Chicago Events Coordinator for horrorsociety.com and festival co-runner.
"We’re not Hollywood, We might be someday, but we’re not right now."
M: I think Chicago really has an infectious DIY attitude about low budget filmmaking. Look, we're not Hollywood, we might be someday, but we're not right now. That hasn't stopped the talented minds in this great city from doing whatever it takes to get their projects made. The attitude of scrappily getting things made really shows that people want to be doing this and it isn't just a job or gig. The passion for the horror genre is so...passionate, for lack of a better way to say it. These fans truly love this genre. When you mix a passionate fandom with a love of creating cinema by any means necessary, it’s a beautiful thing.
As soon as I started going to film festivals, I knew I wanted to try to do my own. After running horror Society movie Nights in Chicago for around 2 years I finally saw my in to try this out. I met Alex when we were both working for the Chicago International Film Festival and we developed a friendship. Knowing his background in Festival work, we put this together. I would say it was the combination of doing the double features that I had been doing in the city and meeting Alex that made us want to work together and make this a reality.
Our goal is really to bring together all the different fans of genre films in one place. There's so many different film festivals in the city that cater to either micro-budget genre work or bigger budget affairs. But I wanted to do something that brought all of that together, an all-encompassing Festival, so that we could bring in the fans of more of the artsy micro-budget stuff, fans of higher end genre work, specific genre stars and a mix of cult classics.
"My hope Is that this year's Fest gets the word out, and shows that we're serious about this, and then next year we can make Chicago a destination for genre film festivals and genre filmmaking."
The Windy City Horrorama festival features a selection of short films, one of which is shown before each feature presentation.
M: The shorts came to us and were submitted through our filmfreeway portal. We weren't sure going in that we are going to pair shorts with features in the beginning, but after we saw the great work that was coming in we knew we had to do that. We wanted to get as many eyes as possible on these incredible shorts. As an untested Film Festival, this being our first year, I was afraid the shorts would get lost if we did a shorts specific program. In doing the pairing with the features, hopefully audience members feel it's more bang for their buck and they get to see two great films on a single ticket.
We chose the Davis simply because we love the theater. I'm from Chicago, and I used to go there all the time. I think I saw Twilight there, haha. I've since moved into the area of Lincoln Square, which I love, but unfortunately when I moved in, the Davis was under its year or so long renovation. I was so pumped to see it re-open. Luckily, that kernel of the idea for the fest was born then. The Davis was newly re-opened and hungry for content, I think. Alex and I went there around this time last year and pitched them the idea for the fest, and that was the beginning of our partnership. I say partnership because the theater has been great about advertising the fest to their outlets while we're kind of plugged in to the Horror community. Plus, the theater is absolutely beautiful after the renovation. We had to be a part of that.
In terms of inspiration, for the film festival itself, two of my favorite festivals that I've been to the past couple years were the Telluride Horror Show in Telluride Colorado and Panic Film Fest in Kansas City Missouri. While I didn't want to model Horrorama after those, I really paid attention to what they were doing, and so how we could maybe adapt some things to our model. Hopefully we can make this Festival super fun for both filmmakers and fans like those Fests are. It may seem generic, but the films that really inspire me are the exciting Independent films coming out of the horror genre. If you look at wide releases like Get Out or this year's A Quiet Place, I think the genre is headed in a very exciting direction. There's also great stuff coming out of no Budget Cinema as well. As a horror fan there's a lot to devour right now. And I'm honestly very excited by all of it.
Windy City Horrorama presents Scary Stories (2018) for free at Comfort Film on April 17th at 8 pm. Bring your friends.
Get your tickets for the festival at windycityhorrorama.com and keep up with Matt Storc at horrorsociety.com